(WASHINGTON) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited President Obama in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, the pair’s first meeting since teaming up to tackle the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.
But even as Christie graced the White House halls, his office revealed he had been doing his best to undercut the president’s signature achievement. New Jersey has elected not to set up a health care exchange market, as called for in President Obama’s health care law.
“We will comply with the Affordable Care Act, but only in the most efficient and cost effective way for New Jersey taxpayers,” Christie said in a statement released by his office. “Such an important decision as how to best move forward for New Jerseyans can only be understood and reasonably made when fairly and fully compared to the overall value of the other options.”
“Until the federal government gives us all the necessary information, any other action than this would be fiscally irresponsible. Thus far, we lack such critical information from the federal government,” he continued. “I will not ask New Jerseyans to commit today to a State-based Exchange when the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost, how that cost compares to other options, and how much control they will give the states over this option that comes at the cost of our state’s taxpayers.”
The federal Department of Health and Human Services will step in, for now, to fill the gap.
Christie was also scheduled to meet with House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday to discuss the fiscal cliff and Sandy emergency funding, a senior aide to the speaker confirms. This comes just days after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in to see a whole fleet of top West Wing aides, and asked for a reported $83 billion in disaster money.
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Dylan Byers Sara Murray and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN
Z. Byron Wolf, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN